If you’re new to higher education social media marketing, words like “boomerang” and “superzoom” may sound daunting. But, to capitalize on current trends and keep up with the constantly changing landscape of social media, it’s a better time than ever to learn the lingo.
Instagram, which boasts visually pleasing photos and designs, may sound like the trickiest to small teams with limited resources. What if I’m not an amazing photographer or writer? What if social media is tacked on to my laundry list of job responsibilities?
According to Buffer, more than 15 million businesses now use Instagram worldwide and over half of those businesses are creating stories every month.
With so many new features that have rolled out in the last year, there are countless ways to reach your target audience with a smartphone and a pinch of inspiration. Whether you’re a one-man show or a part of a large multi-talented team, tapping into Instagram’s new features will enhance your university’s strategy.
We’ll talk through a few to get started.
The Questions option lives in the stickers button within an Instagram story. Once you click on the sticker option, scroll to find “Questions.” Select the option, and then pose a subject that your university feels comfortable answering questions about. Set a theme, like “Admissions,” “Homecoming,” “Finals,” or you can stick to the templated “Ask ___ a question.”
Once it’s posted, viewers of the story will be able to interact with this element and you’ll receive a direct message of the user’s question. Then, you have the opportunity to engage by uploading the question with an answer to your story. Engaging in a Q&A builds relationships with your followers and provides useful information to the university on what students want to know more about.
Like the questions option, the polling option provides a candid and informal way to gauge what students are interested in. When you click on this sticker, Instagram will prompt you to type in a question and two answer choices.
Once it’s posted, users will be able to select a vote on your Instagram story and see a percentage sign for each option afterward indicating which choice is “winning” currently. At the end of the 24-hour period of a story, the poll results are final.
Instagram Story Highlights
An Instagram story is available for 24 hours after posting. What if you want that content to hang around? Instagram Story Highlights allow you to keep your favorite stories showcased on your profile.
To add a highlight, go to your Instagram page and click + New under Story Highlights. After selecting, your previous Instagram stories will show up as options to include. Choose the ones you’d like to group together in a highlight, name the highlight, and voila! Now users can click on this “folder” at any time. You can create multiple highlights, by themes, semesters, or really anything. Be creative.
With Instagram stories lasting a maximum of 60 seconds, Instagram created IGTV (Yep, stands for Instagram TV) to allow long-form videos. Some stipulations are that videos must be between 15 seconds and 10 minutes long, or if the account is verified, the videos may be up to 60 minutes long. It’s a unique way to analyze the social proof of your branding efforts.
It works as a standalone app, and can also be accessed on the Instagram app homepage in the upper right-hand corner as a video icon next to the “arrow” where you access your direct message inbox. Universities are already kicking off fun ways to share content. Check out a short blog from The University of Michigan summarizing key features.
What do these features mean for me and my team?
Think of Instagram as a way to start conversations and make connections, while staying on brand and sharing compelling visuals. To make sure your effort is turning into results, refer back often to Instagram insights.
Tell us what you think
What other Instagram features are changing the way you market your university or college?